I lay here and watch my two-year-old sleep with his hand still clenched around a half-bottle of milk. Trucks and dinosaurs and stop signs from his rotating night light dance across the ceiling and his comforter and his face. Each time the big T-Rex rotates over him it highlights those long lashes and those little pouty lips that still move in his sleep like he is suckling. And it hits me.
I’m not special. This motherhood moment? It’s not unique.
Since the dawn of time–since mothers slept between slabs of rock and since Eve first birthed her first baby boy, us mothers have looked at our babes the same way. Hopeful, absolutely in love, protective and fierce as a lioness. And absolutely terrified. Whether it be predators, the rock held by a brother, the bullies in school classrooms, the unlocked and loaded weapon, the date with bad intentions, the racist–the evil.
I see him surrounded by dinosaurs and stuffed bears and the too-heavy elephant figurine with sharp tusks that he insists on sleeping with, and I cringe that the innocence and his love for Blippi and farm animals and books with buttons that moo and oink–that’s all just temporary. Innocent impermanence.
But I’m not special. All moms have thought this. All humans have felt it. That tug of reality–that reminder that we don’t belong to this world. We’re called for something greater. Something higher. Something worthier. But here we are.
We are being lied to, you see. Yes, even you. Smart, brilliant, jaded, well-researched you.
We are living in a time, like no other time, when we are told we are progressive and marching toward righteousness. The saints that go marching in are armed with their flags and their pronouns and their edgy conversations and their newfound policies. We are living in a time when the coldness of our hearts are becoming so petrified and clayed over that we are mistaking it for warmth and we are recreating what is good.
It is being taught that tradition is a cult. Nuclear families are detrimental to progression. The paler the skin the better you must have it. Racism is actually at an all time high as we grow to fear one another. The fear instilled in us by the media causes us to rage out against the man who simply looked at us wrong in the Starbucks line. The perpetual victimhood is causing those of us who aren’t even predatory to sink to the floor and kiss the feet of those who pass, begging forgiveness from those we’ve never even thought about hurting.
Our schools are unsafe and our kids are inheriting our anger. Our narratives are bitter. Our sexism runs deeper as we secretly wedge ourselves up against the opposite gender and declare “Females Run the World” or we use our scars to prove we are tougher in battle and we rip ourselves open again to bleed all over the men who never even originally hurt us. We fight against each other rather than the ones who spin the tales. Bullets, knives, clenched fists, tasers, and rocks off the street have killed our neighbors for no other reason than a blind hatred fueled by our “progressive” leaning society. The very thing we say we are fighting against is actually what we are becoming.
We march in parades screaming about inclusivity while we bash the windows in of those who think differently. We threaten the religious and we throw insults at the modest. We grant Song of the Year to a rapper that sings about female genitalia and gyrates on a stage while we call children’s authors dangerous and destroy statues of Abe Lincoln. We watch it happen, cell phones bright and blinking, social media capturing it all, and we stay silent.
As I watch my baby boy sleep I thumb through Facebook and see it all tonight. I’ve seen the headlines and have read the same stories you have. Masked faces still have eyes grimaced in fear as they not only tremble over the virus we can’t see but flinch around those who are now painted as enemies that live next door. I find myself devastated at videos and stories of innocent Uber drivers being murdered by kids, Ecuadoran children being tossed over border walls by smugglers, Asian elderly women being beaten by felons, children being starved and shot in the head while riding a bike. I have wet my pillow over the state of the world, wondering–always wondering–why the further we spiral down the path of immorality, the more we believe we are actually headed toward a brighter future.
We are worse than we ever have been.
My favorite biblical story (I know, I’m showing my conservatism) is the story of Esther.
“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”-Esther 4:14
I’ve always loved Esther and wanted to be like her. I even have a large wooden sign that scrawls out my favorite scripture from that story. For those unfamiliar with Esther, she was a beautiful Jewish woman who was married to a Persian king named King Ahasuerus. She had everything she could ever want and was adorned with riches. But one day Esther found out that her husband was planning a massacre against her people, the Jews. She had a choice. The choice to be silent and stay in her life of luxury, or the choice to stand up to her husband and face certain death. The kingdom had never seemed better. Her life, with rubies and gold, had never looked better. People saw the government as ideal and ruled by the perfect couple. But it was wicked. And she knew it. When she went to her cousin Mordecai for advice he said to her, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
When I was younger, before children and before the obvious signs to me of a crumbling society, I used to think of this scripture as a positive affirmation for the time I was in. I’m in a great day and age. I’m in a positive era with so much at my disposal. I’m here for such a great time as THIS. But now, as an adult who has studied the context of that Bible story just as much as the context of my own surroundings, I know now that I wasn’t sent here because it’s the greatest time in history. My kids weren’t sent here to enjoy the garden of Eden. We weren’t sent here to follow Christ as he taught and healed in the streets.
We came after the cross.
We’re here for such a wicked time as this. Furthermore, it was on purpose.
And though you may be the minority in a kingdom of gold and pomp and circumstance, you don’t have to shrink. You were called here, to face the snakes and the darkness and the cross–all while holding your children’s hands and lighting your own candle and gathering those around you to safety.
We live in a world that calls evil good and good evil. Plain and simple. We’re having to reshape how we talk and behave and even what we value in order to fit in to a world that is severely misshapen. In our mission to create room, we spend more time debating who we need to shove out.
I look at my baby now, steady breaths and dreams on race cars, and I am forced to reconcile these facts.
The party of “Progressive Idealists” who sit in government don’t care about the children in cages. They don’t care about white supremacy (or any form of racism). They don’t care if we get sick from Covid or if we kill each other at a local grocery market. To them, the priority is votes. Power. Money. Control. Passing bills that appease their party and propel the country in the direction they want us to face. So you know what that means for us?
We have to actually start caring. And not the fake-caring you see on the news.
We have to start recognizing that the power lies within us to raise good humans who don’t suffer neglect and abuse and molestation or grow up to abuse their own kids or carjack an immigrant while they’re still in middle school. We have to put a stop to racism and bigotry while not allowing racism to happen to ourselves in the process. We have to grant understanding to those trying to explain their side without labelling them or gaslighting them.
We have to realize that we can choose to stop buying into a narrative. We need to speak up when ugliness rears its head and jump to action when we see someone–of any color or culture–get hurt or oppressed. Each and every one of our brothers and sisters has a mother that watched them while they slept, wishing they could summon the sun just for them. And if they don’t, God forbid, they have a Father in Heaven who certainly does.
I see my babies eyelashes in the faces of those who are being hurt and my heart wretches in pain as I, like Esther, look around at a crumbling kingdom that’s disguised as powerful and bleeds out the innocent. It was just yesterday I saw a video on TikTok where a young girl was bragging about “killing her baby” at Planned Parenthood and one of the comments on her video said, “Good job! What’s your baby gonna do about it? Cry to it’s mother?“
If things like that don’t sear your soul a little or make you wince, you’re far gone and just as disconnected as they want you to be. If you don’t see compassion for both the mother in need in a situation that presents abortion AND the baby who’s life is at stake, there’s a problem there too. It’s a heart problem we are dealing with, not a legal one.
See, many tell the story of Esther without telling the ending. We recount it because of her bravery as she marched into the royal court and declared herself as Jewish. And then we end it there. But what really happened when the sword was raised up by the King’s right-hand man to kill her on the spot?
The king changed his mind. And he spared Esther.
I’m not writing a blog to declare like a pageant queen that “You can save the whole world!”
But I am saying this: It sometimes just takes one person to walk through the dark, look wrong in the eye, and declare you are here for such a time as this. Sometimes all it really takes is your voice, although it may be quieter than the screams around you, to overpower evil with good. Even if it’s just changing one mind or impacting one child or protecting one stranger. I’m trying to learn that too. Slowly, but surely. To not be afraid anymore to be the unpopular voice that says what needs to be said and to stand for all lives while being told to sit down because I couldn’t possibly understand the plights of others.
I was chosen to be here, just like you.
Take some time to read about how we got here as a civilization. Educate yourself on what your declared “political party” has actually done. Listen to the stories of those who had ancestors come over and the very real and tangible things they had to do to fight for their rights. Take time to be uncomfortable in learning how both sides of the extreme has literally killed thousands of people. Take power back with knowledge and pay attention to the signs of those who tell you what to think. Take care of people again as human beings and stop with the race obsessions, the gender obsession, the addiction to outrage.
I think once we open our eyes and realize that the “progress” we rave about is the disguise that is stripping us of our humanity, we will have better traction to actually rise up with the courage of Esther.
And all can certainly, in time, be well.